Spot The Idiot

Please don’t think I have any personal animus against actors or those who work in the entertainment and cultural industry, it’s just that these sectors tend to contribute more than their fair share of idiots to the common pool.

Aaron Sorkin screenwriter of West Wing recently described Sarah Palin as an ‘idiot.’ She may well be, but I doubt that anyone subjected to such an onslaught of vitriol by the media over every slip of the tongue would emerge as a shining intellect. Obama apparently thinks that in Austria they speak Austrian – but that didn’t get wall to wall coverage. However, it is not Palin or Obama who interest me, it is Sorkin.

In the Huffington Post last week he wrote a column attacking Palin for a segment of her TV series Sarah Palin’s Alaska. He opened by quoting Palin on the hypocrisy of meat eaters who condemn those who hunt for food. His brilliant response was: “You’re right, Sarah, we’ll all just go f*** ourselves now.”

This non-sequitur was the intellectual pinnacle of the column. Most use expletives at some time or another, usually in uncontrolled outbursts, hammers and thumbs come to mind. It takes either the grossly undereducated or the cultural media elite to use them as a normal part of public discourse.

Although in the programme Palin made it clear that she was hunting for food Sorkin was of the opinion that she had committed an act of torture and murder.

To quote Sorkin:

“I don’t relish the idea of torturing animals.”

“I don’t watch snuff films and you [Palin] make them.”

“I get happy every time one of you faux-macho s***heads accidentally shoots another one of you in the face.”

“Sarah Palin is deranged.”

At this point I should admit that I don’t eat meat. Not from theological or moral conviction, I avoid meat simply on health grounds. I have found that I feel healthier not eating meat, it’s a purely personal decision. I have no problem wearing leather shoes or woolly jumpers, and if moleskin trousers were made from the skins of genuine moles that wouldn’t be a problem either.

Sorkin eats meat and wears leather. He does this despite knowing that in the West it is easy to eat a healthy meat free diet. He chooses to eat meat because he enjoys doing so. Nothing wrong with that. But what it means is that he is morally content with paying an abattoir worker to kill sentient animals for his sheer pleasure in eating their meat. However, when Sarah Palin kills a caribou with the intent of eating it’s meat he labels her a ‘torturer’ and ‘murderer.’

Now I’m a teuchter (country boy/yokel/redneck) and have a pretty good idea of how animals are raised, which is mostly humanely. I also have a pretty good idea of how they are slaughtered, which can be horrific, and the animals know it. Given the alternatives of factory farming and a trip to a massive abattoir where they are herded with other terrified animals to be slaughtered, and a free life in the wild to be killed in an instant without fear, which do you think preferable in a civilised society?

If there is any ‘torture’ involved in meat eating it is more likely to be in the production of the beef and chickens at our local butchers or Tesco.

‘Murder’ is a term we use for the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. If, like Sorkin, we apply the term to animals that makes him, as a meat eater, a mass murderer. It also trivialises the actual murder of human beings.

Only a bigot could compare film of Palin shooting a caribou to a ‘snuff film.’ You have to be beyond the verge of derangement to compare an innocent person hunting meat for the larder with film of the murder of a human being for the sexual satisfaction of sadistic perverts. Sorkin is apparently moved to anguish by the clean kill of a caribou but is ‘happy’ when a human hunter is accidentally shot. Who is deranged?

This ornament of the media elite who thinks Palin an ‘idiot’ is unable to discern a difference between hunting an animal for food, torturing an animal and murdering another human being. When we add to this the fact that he pays others to kill animals for him we find that he is not only intellectually challenged but that Palin is right, he is a hypocrite.

However, it is clear that he, and those who share his stance, are not concerned with reason or even with animals. They are so intent on attacking someone who portrays conventional tastes and principles that they are prepared to say anything in order to insult her.

Palin’s great crime is not that she is an ‘idiot,’ it is that she is reasonably normal and many people like her.

It is perfectly possible for people to disagree with Palin’s positions on various political issues. It is possible to think, as I do, that it would be a huge mistake for her to run for president in 2012. But what has she done to deserve such an outpouring of hatred? Has she ever done or said anything as infantile and morally repugnant as Sorokin’s bilious diatribe?

Our cultural and media elites live in a self-regarding social and moral bubble insulated from the world the rest of us inhabit. What most regard as irrational or immoral our intellectuals usually regard as a brilliant insight or courageous artistic expression. To compare shooting a caribou to torture, murder and a snuff film is, to most ordinary folk, the ranting of a deranged bigot.

Or perhaps to be charitable he is just a moral idiot.

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About Campbell

Now retired but once upon a time a parish minister in Glasgow, before that the South West and initially the Black Isle. Been a prison chaplain and lecturer. Still am constantly bemused by the weird world around me.
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